A Suggestion for the Trump Cabinet Talent Hunt

The president has been losing key leadership at an alarming rate and there is talk that he plans to replace his Attorney General after the November elections. According to the Washington Post he is beginning to make plans, including holding discussions with the AG’s own Chief of Staff.

Should the president be interested in my advice, I think I have found an ideal candidate, This is someone who would be a perfect fit for the Trump White House ethos – the current Texas state Attorney General, Ken Paxton.

Paxton has demonstrated an ability to operate under felony indictments and he looks certain to be re-elected with a comfortable Texas Republican majority. This is Trump’s kind of guy.

Oh, and as Michael Barajas points out in his Texas Observer article, Paxton was talking about witch hunts before Trump made it cool.

This, by the way, is some outstanding reporting in the Texas Observer. This story has been unfolding over the last four years and it has been impossible to keep up with all the legal machinations of Team Paxton. This is an excellent retrospective piece.

 

Trump’s Bandwagon Hits the Road

We humans love being agreeable. It is so much easier than constantly finding ourselves in arguments and having to defend our positions. It also beats having small groups of people turn sidelong glances your direction as if caught talking about you and your “different” way of viewing the world.

That’s why people love bandwagons. If you see one leaving the station, hop on for the ride. You will be in the company of pleasant people who ask nothing from you except your soul. That’s right. Just go with the crowd, be a good snake oil consumer, buy into self-serving political programs and don’t bother the driver with questions about where we are going. There’s a party going on in the back of the bus.

American politics thrives on bandwagons. All politics thrives on bandwagons. One could argue that any political system, over time, will come to reflect the social consensus in which it operates. And while we can bring illustrations from history that would seem to prove the point we must recognize that consensus, itself, is manipulable. Astute politicians have learned how to use the bandwagon effect to manipulate a society’s consensus and, hence, a political system’s drift, direction and policy output.

I am like any other consumer of media, I suppose, with my own bandwagon of reporters and friends in what conservative commentators like to call the left wing media.Yes, the New York Times, the Washington Post, MS-NBC, NPR and The Guardian are sources I trust much more than the White House and its Fox News friends. My choice of media reflects my view that truth is an essential component in our politics.. Truth is a value of the left and seemingly of little concern to the political right. They have learned to play the realpolitik of the classic dictatorships where truth is an ethical drag on the business of achieving and holding power. Continue reading “Trump’s Bandwagon Hits the Road”

I Meet Our New Justice . . . He Likes Beer

I had no plans for watching the Kavanaugh hearing today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I had heard about all I needed to know about the president’t nominee for the Supreme Court. And somehow I knew I was going to feel a little dirtier if I spent a day watching the U.S. Senate at work.

But I turned it on early, just after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had been sworn in. Her testimony was riveting as the Republican majority sat off to the side and had a local government sex crimes prosecutor ask all the questions. They apparently didn’t want to risk seeing themselves later in their electoral opponents’ campaign commercials questioning Dr. Ford. They didn’t want to make it too easy for to show them as what they are: white male Republicans with no aptitude for empathy.

I decided to continue watching after lunch and saw our future justice performing most un-judicially for the next three hours. He was angry. He was aggressive. He was rude. He interrupted U.S. Senators. He cried. He told touching stories about his family. He blamed everyone else and took no responsibility for anything. He congratulated himself at every opportunity on how great he is. He had finally mastered the skills of a reality television star. He conducted himself a lot like his new role model, Donald J. Trump.

So much for judicial temperament.

Good luck, America.

In Lake Jackson: The Times They Are a’Changin’

I have not been totally sold by talk of the blue wave in November. Certainly it is something to hope for but I don’t have much faith in the majority in these times, especially not the majority of the folks who manage to register and vote in the age of internet manipulations, intentional voter suppression, auditless electronic balloting and the attack on truth itself from the highest offices.


Sasha Tarrant and Rita Lucido hold back an enthusiastic Eeyore, whose guest appearance got the Dems going. Rita Lucido (on the right) is the Democratic candidate for Texas Senate District 17,

It was in February that Ted Cruz famously said of Texas Democrats, “They will crawl over broken glass in November to vote.” He may very well have been right. Tonight I saw more Democrats at one time in Lake Jackson than I have ever seen before.

The Southern Brazoria County Democrats held a fundraising barbecue at Jasmine Park in Lake Jackson. The place was packed with Democrats. And it was a lot more fun than crawling over broken glass.

Adrienne Bell (U.S. House, Dist. 14) was there. Rita Lucido (Texas Senate, Dist. 17) was there. Mike Collier (Lieutenant Governor) was there. And there were lots of other candidates for state, county, regional offices and judicial seats.

And there were all the “just plain folks” like me who were there to eat barbecue and enjoy the friendship of people who have decided that it is not alright to accept the behavior of the sitting president.

Lila Lloyd was there. Sharron Stewart was there. Mike and Ann Lange were there. And there were probably a few people there who would as soon not be mentioned as having been seen consorting with Democrats. But we love them just the same and look forward to having them join us, next time in the privacy of the voting booth.

The time for pretending that it is normal to vote for Republicans for any office is over. Done. The only patriotic thing to do in November is to NOT vote for anyone under the R column. That is my best nonpartisan advice. Then, as soon as we get ourselves out from under the kleptocracy, we can go back to being Democrats and Republicans again. And all of us can keep on loving the country we live in.

This is How Political Discussion Should Be: Beto O’Rourke on NFL Player Protests

This video (www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2018/aug/22/beto-orourke-nfl-protests-texas-video ) was carried in The Guardian today. It runs about four minutes as Beto O”Rourke answered a question regarding how he feels about people kneeling in protest when the national anthem is played at sporting events.

His response was thorough, sensible and respectful. It is good to hear this kind of discussion and Beto O’Rourke is the kind of senator Texas needs. If you agree, then it is time to get involved.

Beto’s response was pitch perfect. I would only add to his thoughts on the matter that I interpret the protesters’ kneeling as anything but disrespectful. Kneeling is an expression of reverence for the ideals the American flag represents. Kneeling would seem to be the correct response when those ideals are not being respected by law enforcement or anyone else in authority.